Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

so I finally saw it tonight, at the so-called IMAX in Roseville. That was secondary.

There's a ton to say, yet, in words, it doesn't really express the emotion that this movie brought to me.

Hmm, I read the book as a child, like many kids. I have verrry vague memories of the book, namely of the images of boy with the horned-suit on, and the monsters. What it was about, until I actually read a synopsis again a few months ago, I didn't fully remember. But I suppose the key plot-point after that was remembering he was sent to his room without any dinner. I think by his mother.

The other details, I should and will go back and page through the book again now after seeing the movie twice this evening (I missed the 1st 5minutes and this was such a good movie, I had to catch the WHOLE thing. And frankly, there were certainly multiple benefits/motivations for a 2nd viewing anyway).

edit: Wikipedia says and refreshed my memory now

The text consists of only ten sentences. It tells the story of Max, who one evening plays around his home, "making mischief" in a wolf costume. As punishment, his mother sends him to bed without supper. In his room, a mysterious, wild forest and sea grows out of his imagination, and Max sails to the land of the Wild Things. The Wild Things are fearsome-looking monsters, but Max conquers them "by staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once", and he is made "the King of all Wild Things", dancing with the monsters in a "wild rumpus". However, he soon finds himself lonely and homesick, and he returns home to his bedroom, where he finds his supper waiting for him, still hot.

I do remember that, and the way the forest grows in his room, almost reminds me of "the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." The supper being warm when he gets back home also I recall. I do like how Jonze *adapted* some things though, but remained true to the spirit of the book.

Jeez, so maybe Hollywood will end up adapting "Caps for Sale" "Goodnight Moon" and "There's a Nightmare in My Closet." maybe Jonze would be interested in working on some of these as well? lol. yeah, right.

I think the biggest thing that got me with it may be how much it struck a chord with childhood and my personality. Max is a kid who has a vast range of emotions, and what seems like a temper. He also has a vast imagination. Telling his mother the little story about the buildings and vampires was one example, but also the way he sees the world in his experience on the island.

I guess I felt partially transported back to being a child again watching this. I hate to make comparisons, but especially the 2nd time through, I felt very similar to how I feel/felt watching The Wizard of Oz, and I suppose some other heartfelt stories.

By running away to the Island, meeting the monsters, etc Max sort of fulfills that escape fantasy that many children yearn for. But at the same time, ultimately his tie to his mother (was his father in the book? I forget, he's only referenced vaguely in the movie) and family back home. The Wizard of Oz paralells are there, sure, but it doesn't make the story any less moving.

But his time with the monsters on the island, and then *****SPOILER**** going back home on the boat; leaving them behind was as touching a scene/sequence I've ever seen in any movie. The acting, music, cinematography, editing, etc is just perfect.

Ya know the truth is, after seeing it once (save for the 1st 5mins) I didn't expect to tear-up with what the story is. But I honestly could not hold back my tears. And then I figured, the 2nd time through the same wouldn't happen, having just seen it once and knowing what would happen; but my gawd, I did EVEN WORSE. This was like putting on Marillion's BRAVE or something. THE WIZARD OF OZ does it to me everytime, but it's not as if every movie I love does. "Synecdoche, NY" didn't do it to me? and there is certainly stuff in that movie that is sad. Ironically, also a movie Catherine Keener starred in as well.

Some of the best parts were in scenes with not a ton of dialogue, but you could see the emotion in the performance, albeit subtle at times, other times just an overly long-winded emphasis.

The boy Max Records, really did a fine job playing the lead character Max. I'm not sure what else he's done:

edit: he was the young version of Mark Ruffalo's character in "The Brother's Bloom." Mark Ruffalo, also was in WTWTA, lol.

I certainly will remember him, even if he never does anything as good as this again. He pulled the role off quite well. Capturing those emotions just right. Sure, the scenes at the beginning of the movie were truncated, especially the part when he reacts to his igloo being destroyed (did he even look at it and point it out, before or during his tears?..I don't think so, but it still worked well enough I thought).

No Spike Jonze really got this movie just right. The author, Maurice Sendak, was great to wait for him, the right writer and director to put it to film.

edit: really strange how Steve Vai released a live album earlier this year of the same title, and it comes from his performance in Minneapolis at the State Theater, lol

Also in 1985, according to Wikipedia, a stage performance of WTWTA was performed in St.Paul. My guess is the "Children's Theater" there. I remember going there, namely for the "500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" and something related-to, but not necessarily The Wizard of Oz (and A Christmas Carol I believe since a friend of mine and my brother's was in it I recall), but I'm not sure if I caught that play specifically. But it wouldn't surprise me given how I had and read the book not that many years earlier (early 80's is my guess).

I could elaborate on a lot more details and other things involving this movie; and I very well may, at least when I do my end-of-year list. Especially considering how great it was, and I'd be surprised to see a better, more moving picture the rest of the year/season (although I'd love to be wrong).


Kind of funny as this comes right on the heels of finally getting the Kevin Gilbert "Nuts, Bolts, and Welcome to Joytown DVD/CD" which will likely be in my mailbox by Saturday if not earlier since I placed my order (here) on Monday night. And also Between the Buried and Me's album "The Great Misdirect" leaking. So, it's kind of come within a segment of multiple favorite and significant sources of art/entertainment for myself.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

if i had watched WTWTA as a child, i would have either been bored out of my mind or disturbed; either way, I'm baffled as to why they would disguise this movie as something that would appeal to children